MINNEAPOLIS, April 25, 2000 — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today reversed an earlier decision and set the week of June 5 for a hearing to consider approval of the merger of Qwest Communications International and U S WEST, Inc. The commission reversed a March decision to have an administrative law judge review the merger and complaints from industry competitors.
Today the Minnesota PUC decided enough information is now available to consider approval of the merger because the majority of companies, organizations and government agencies have settled their issues and now support the combination.
Qwest and U S WEST also reached a settlement with AT&T to drop its opposition to the merger in all 14 U S WEST region states. Now that AT&T and McLeod have settled, no major intervenors remain opposed to the merger. In recent weeks, Qwest and U S WEST have reached settlements with Covad, Rhythms, and several smaller companies to drop their opposition to the merger in the 14-state U S WEST territory. None of the settlement terms were disclosed.
"We are encouraged by the commission's action as it will help us close the merger more quickly, and let the new management team drive the financial synergies of the combination. Achieving those synergies sooner will be great for shareowners," said Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest chairman and CEO.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General reached a settlement on April 14 on key service, competition and investment issues. The two Minnesota public offices also agreed to support expeditious approval of the merger. The merger has received all required clearances from federal agencies, pending approval of long-distance divestiture, and awaits clearance from regulators in Arizona, Minnesota, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and Utah. Colorado and Iowa have approved the merger, which is expected to close by mid-summer.
The combined company, to be named Qwest Communications International Inc., will create a communications powerhouse employing about 64,000 people worldwide. U S WEST and Qwest will unite the nation's most innovative local, wireless and broadband communications firm with one of the world's most advanced fiber-optic networks and broadband Internet providers. Together, the two firms will have more than 3 million miles of deployed fiber in the U.S. and worldwide, 29 million customers and a local network that is 99.2 percent digitally switched.
About Qwest Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband Internet-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. The Qwest Macro Capacity® Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking equipment for speed and efficiency, spans more than 25, 500 miles in North America. In addition, KPNQwest (Nasdaq: KQIP), Qwest's European joint venture with KPN, the Dutch telecommunications company, is building and will operate a high-capacity European fiber optic, Internet-based network that will span 11,800 miles when it is completed in 2001. For more information, please visit the Qwest web site at www.qwest.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by Qwest and U S WEST with the SEC, specifically the most recent reports which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including potential fluctuations in quarterly results, dependence on new product development, rapid technological and market change, failure to maintain rights of way, financial risk management and future growth subject to risks, and adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties, for which neither Qwest nor U S WEST assumes any responsibility. Qwest and U S WEST undertake no obligation to review or confirm analysts' expectations or estimates or to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
The Qwest logo is a registered trademark of Qwest Communications International Inc. in the U.S. and certain other countries.
|Utah Media Contact
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